When Edwin van der Sar played his last game for Manchester United in 2011, you could cut the nervous tension with a knife as supporters and player waved goodbye to one another for the last time.
United fans thought they were experiencing deja vu. They had seen it all before when the club lost Peter Schmeichel in 1999.
The Big Dane was replaced by Mark Bosnich, a former United player who knew enough about the club to succeed at a second bite of the cherry.
Well, he failed.
Between Schmeichel and Van der Sar, there were 10 goalkeepers who tried their luck at United, from World Cup winner Fabien Barthez to Scottish veteran Andy Goram.
Each had their own unique selling points. Each one could not get anywhere near to the standards that Schmeichel set.
Sir Alex Ferguson did not appear to have a great history of judgment on goalkeepers, so when he signed a 20-year-old boy from Atletico Madrid, making him second-most expensive goalkeeper of all time (per BBC Sport), there was more than just a smattering of doubters.
BBC Sport quoted Sir Alex as saying about his new signing:
He's a young goalkeeper, very quick, good composure, presence and an outstanding replacement for Van der Sar. We were looking for the same type of qualities as Edwin, because the one great quality Edwin always had was his composure and organisational ability.
But despite the negativity generated by signing a kid to replace a 40-year-old, the concerns about his physique and the fact that he did not like coming out for crosses, the Spanish goalkeeper has prevailed.
He is the best in his position in the Premier League, speeding ahead of Joe Hart and his contemporaries.
And now the vultures circle:
David McDonnell of the Mirror has reported that both Real Madrid and Barcelona want to take the shot-stopper back to his homeland. De Gea's form in a United shirt has not gone unnoticed, and the two La Liga giants want him.
McDonnell explains though that United are keen to secure the player with a brand new deal worth £90,000 a week and reward him for his consistency during a difficult period for the club.
Spanish paper Marca also describes De Gea as a "potential future captain" for United, such is his reputation with David Moyes and the fanbase, and that he is "following in Schmeichel's footsteps."
It is an astonishing turn-around for a goalkeeper who looked like he could be run out of the Premier League with the tidal wave of adverse press he received in his first year at Old Trafford.
One thing is for sure: £90,000 a week is not enough. He is the defensive rock that United need to build their defence around and he is every bit as vital to the team as Wanye Rooney is.
Could United survive if Rooney disappeared? Yes.
And what would happen if De Gea left? United would be deep into mid-table and David Moyes would not have a job.
It is vital to the survival of Moyes that he gets De Gea to sign a golden handcuffs deal. He should be the highest-paid goalkeeper in the world because one day soon he will be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the position.
As United look to investing heavily in their squad, they need to be mindful of what they already have.
It is unlikely that Juan Mata would have turned up in Manchester if his very good friend De Gea had intentions to leave the club.
The biggest compliment one could pay the 23-year-old is that he may one day be even better than Schmeichel and Van der Sar were for the Red Devils.